Happy People Are Healthier
According to a study published in the journal "Psychosomatic Medicine" by Carnegie Mellon University, happiness and positive emotions play a very important role in health .
"It says that happiness and positive emotions play an even more important role in health than previously thought.This recent study confirms the results of a landmark 2004 paper in which it was found that people who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to become ill when they are exposed to a cold virus than those who report few of these emotions. In that study,it was found that when they do come down with a cold, happy people report fewer symptoms than would be expected from objective measures of their illness.
In contrast, reporting more negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger was not associated with catching colds. That study, however, left open the possibility that the greater resistance to infectious illness among happier people may not have been due to happiness, but rather to other characteristics that are often associated with reporting positive emotions such as optimism, extraversion, feelings of purpose in life and self-esteem. "
It was found that people who report positive emotions are less likely to catch colds and less likely to report symptoms when they do get sick. These findings held true regardless of levels of optimism, extraversion, purpose and self-esteem, and also regardless of their age, race, gender, education, body mass or prestudy immunity to the virus.
"We need to take more seriously the possibility that positive emotional style is a major player in disease risk," said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon.
Volunteers were interviewed over several weeks to assess their moods and emotional styles, and then infected them with either a rhinovirus or an influenza virus. They were quarantined and examined to see if they came down with a cold. This was the same method Cohen applied in his previous study, but with the addition of the influenza virus.